Hi Achokis. I have been married for the last 18 years with three children. The relationship between my husband and I has deteriorated to the extent that he no longer communicates with me. We can go weeks on end without talking to each other. Physical intimacy is something of the past, I can’t remember the last time we had sex. He makes unilateral decisions on the major issues around the family without consulting me. I’m frustrated and wonder whether there is even a marriage here. Is there hope here or do I just give up? Please advise!
Thank you Maggy for reaching out to us. There’s definitely something that happened in your relationship along the way. Many couples think that a marriage relationship is automatic. The longer they live together, the more they find out that it requires a lot of work. Putting in work helps keep the relationship going without allowing other competing interests to distract us. Unlike those other things, the marriage relationship doesn’t cry out the way a baby does when in need of attention. The only time that we get to hear the cry is when things come to a standstill, as you are experiencing now in your marriage.
You are not in his picture
It’s unfortunate that your husband has gone quiet rendering it hard for you to try and salvage your relationship. If he were communicating, it would have been easier to identify where the issue is. From what you share, it seems that your husband has moved on alone and is now living an independent life. Marriage is meant to be for companionship and so, when one person decides to live their life independent of their partner, it makes life difficult for the partner. So we empathise with you. You are left wondering what might have happened and you don’t want to live like that.
All hope is not lost— as long as there’s still a chance, he might open up and talk. You need to let him know that it can’t be business as usual. Things are not right and you two need to talk. Watch your tone of voice and be careful not to seem disrespectful. Say this with a calm voice and even give him time to think over it. Let him suggest what needs to be done, who you can approach for help, how much time he needs. Failure to respond or to act by the agreed date will communicate that he’s not interested in working things out with you.
You need time out
At this point you are left with little or no choice, but to seek a temporary separation. We are not talking here about divorce. Don’t make a rushed decision, but be thinking with the help of a counsellor how that separation will look like. How long should it be and what should be done during this time. Hopefully that may jerk him into some action. Time apart may make him come to his senses even as the counselling sessions help you process your pain in order to see things objectively.
The writers are marriage and relationship coaches